How To Beat Emotional Overeating And Lose Weight
If you fall into the category of people which the main response to stress is food, then you definitely have a problem with emotional overeating.
Overeating is never recommended, but emotional overeating is a special kind, whose causes do not lie in love for food but are mostly emotional in nature, and therefore it is not easy to control them.
If in addition to this, you have a problem with both weight and desire to lose weight, then emotional overeating becomes an obstacle with which you must first learn to fight. Why? First of all, because it is very likely one of the reasons why you have a weight problem, it’s exactly your reaction to stress.
Before you begin to think about which diet you can start, or the weight loss product that you can use, find out below what is meant by emotional overeating, which are the most common causes, as well as tips on how to beat emotional overeating.
What Is Emotional Overeating?
The simplest, emotional or compulsive overeating is the pattern of using food as a way to deal with stressful situations. This phenomenon is not a rarity at all, and everyone is likely to experience it, whether it’s when we eat a chips bag because it’s boring or a chocolate bar after a busy day at work.
However, when overeating in response to stress becomes habitual or starts to often happen enough, then it actually turns out in the main way how a person faces with his emotions, and thus her life, health, happiness, and weight begin to suffer negative consequences.
What Are The Causes Of Emotional Overeating?
When it comes to emotional overeating how to quit is not the right question, because it is not only possible to overcome the need, it is necessary to discover the causes and gradually work on the suppression of consequences. Negative emotions caused by stress are not the only cause of emotional overeating, and there are others, quite common reasons, such as:
When you are bored or simply have no idea what to do at a certain point, it often serves as a trigger to reach for food. Since nowadays, many people lead dynamic lives, an empty walk simply cries out to be filled, and therefore food serves as an easy way to fill the vacuum you have found.
The habit of eating something at a certain point in time is often rooted in nostalgia or something that we used to do in childhood, with dear people, so we keep thinking that perhaps there are no more moments, but the food is still there, at least as a comfort.
You probably noticed that you are more attentive to food when you are tired or you are dealing with something unpleasant, because food consoles us, and as if it serves as a response to something that we do not like to do, but we still have to.
- Social influences
You all probably have friends who will insist on a piece of pizza after a night out, a drink and a dinner after a busy day, or as a reward, and it’s easiest to fall into that regime when you’re with family and friends, because from a social point of view, that’s also what it means.
Emotional Overeating – Symptoms And Causes
The first step a person should take if he has a problem with emotional overeating is to recognize the triggers and situations that actually lead to the manifestation of such emotions. The good thing that you can start doing is keeping a diary and generic everything you eat because in this way you can follow the situations that led you to start eating, but that you were not physically hungry.
Monitoring these situations helps you to find out what kind of habits you are about meals, and to include:
- feeling hungry on a scale of 1-10
- what are you doing at that moment when you feel hungry, and whether it’s what you’re doing uncomfortable
- what you feel at that moment, especially if you are bored or you are angry
Since this diary primarily helps you find ways to deal with the source of your neglected emotions and suggestions on what to do about it can be:
- Someone who eats out of boredom can look for a new interesting book to read, or start a new hobby that is a challenge.
- Someone who eats for stress, can try yoga, meditation, or go out for a walk whenever a stressful occasion cares for the need for food.
- Someone who eats because he is depressed can invite a friend, take a dog for a walk, or go on a shorter journey that can help him confront his negative feelings.
If it’s too hard for you to do it yourself, because sometimes it can really be too much to fight, you can always visit a psychotherapist or a psychologist and consult with them about how to get out of the vicious circle about overeating and what it is provoking.
A nutritionist or doctor, through consultation, provides advice on how to set up healthy habits about meals and foods you eat, but above all, you can help change your attitude toward food. Emotional overeating is not only a matter of lack of self-discipline, or self-control, but the causes can be extremely complex, and here’s how.
Causes Rooted In Early Childhood
For some people, overeating is a learned behavior for which parents can be responsible, for example, if the child rewarded sweets when it was good, or if they were given sweets at times when it was unlucky or had a difficult day.
Over time, a child who is accustomed to reaching chocolate every time he receives a poor grade in school can grow up in an adult who will eat the whole box after a busy day at work.
When it comes to such cases, the roots of emotional overeating are deep and it can be very difficult to break this habit, but this should not discourage you, because there is never a recipe that is valid for everyone.
Difficulties In Dealing With Emotions
It is usual and quite normal that sometimes it is difficult for us to deal with some feelings, especially if they are unpleasant or difficult, and since in each of us lies the instinctive need to get rid of them speedily, it is precisely the prelude to developing unhealthy habits like which is overeating. In these cases, food becomes a way to get rid of such emotions.
What Are The Physical Effects Of Stress?
You probably already know it, but there are certain physical reasons why stress and strong emotions, especially negative ones, can affect the person to overeat, and these are:
- High levels of cortisol – Initially, the stressful situation causes a decrease in appetite, so that the body is focused only on dealing with the situation, but in cases where the level of stress does not decrease, then the hormone cortisol, which increases appetite, and which results in the person’s overeating.
- The craving for food – cortisol helps us to have sugar or fat foods first of all, but stress also affects the activation of other hunger hormones, which contributes to excessive desire and need for food, especially unhealthy.
- It can depend on gender – some research has shown that women have more preference for unhealthy foods when they are under the influence of negative feelings than men, while men tend to smoke or drink when they are under stress.
Differences Between Physical And Emotional Hunger
It is easy to make a mistake in distinguishing between physical and emotional hunger, but there are, however, parameters of help that can be distinguished, and the recognition of these subtle differences is one of the first steps that must be taken by the person in the treatment of the problem of emotional overeating.
Does hunger occur quickly or gradually?
Emotional hunger has a tendency to respond quickly and to arouse the sense of urgency, or the need to satisfy it as soon as we feel as if we cannot endure it. Physical hunger does not cause such a feeling, and it occurs gradually, and usually, at the time we normally eat, except when a person made an excessive break between the meals.
Do you have a desire for exactly certain foods?
Emotional hunger is mostly associated with the desire for some spicy food, most often unhealthy, fast food. A person who feels physical hunger will usually eat anything just to satisfy her, while a person who feels emotional hunger will reach for a piece of pizza or fries because he will feel the need for just such food.
Is there a “foolish” feeding?
It can be said that it exists, and it refers to people who eat, pay no attention to what they eat or enjoy, but they do it mechanically. An example is when somebody eats a whole bin of ice cream while watching TV, while not planning to do this, which is at the same time a typical example of emotional overeating, not from the sense of hunger.
Does the feeling of hunger reach from the stomach or from the head?
When it comes to emotional hunger, you will not feel the bowel contraction or the emptiness you normally feel when you are physically hungry, but this type of hunger usually starts by thinking of eating it, after which it feels the desire for that particular food, which then to satisfy.
Do feelings of guilt or repentance emerge after emotional overeating?
When you obey your desires for food, or if you are tempted to pursue something that will relieve you of the stress under which you were, a sense of repentance, embarrassment or guilt can occur, all of which are associated with emotional overeating.
On the other hand, when eating because you are physically hungry, you get the body with the necessary nutrients and calories that it needs to function normally, which is not automatically associated with negative feelings.
How To Prevent Overeating?
The product for overeating as such does not exist, but there are strategies and steps created in a way that helps people with this problem gradually overcome it. Monitoring these steps requires patience and courage, but if you apply them, you will see that you will no longer feel emotional hunger, and you will start to enjoy more food as such.
- Keep control
When we eat because we are under the influence of stress, what food actually does for us is to relieve us of feelings of discomfort, and gives us an instant sense of pleasure and enjoyment, especially if you feel something you do not want to feel.
Overeating has a calming and comforting effect on unwanted sentiments that we feel at some point and distracting us from them.
The key is that at these moments you do not lose your control over yourself when you feel bad and do not reach for food, but to confront your emotions and allow them to prevail.
- Enjoy the tastes
Enjoying your food should be your priority when eating, not food for food. In addition to food, you need to learn to enjoy everything else, because in this way you will cease to seek essential satisfaction only in food.
Nourish your body, learn to feel good, and if you feel an abnormal need for food at some point, then sit and enjoy each bite. The more you focus on the taste of each bite, the fewer chances are you will eat until it gets hurt. Many times emotional overeating arises from our need for any pleasure.
- Eat only when you are hungry
People who have a tendency to emotional overeating also tend not to eat when they are actually hungry, which as a result has to eat much later.
What is advised is to switch to a healthy diet, that is, when you are physically hungry, you eat healthy, natural and nutritious foods, because they will saturate you in the right way and will teach your body that it is not in the degradation mode, and therefore it will not store fat but burn it. In this way, your body teaches that it is right to lose weight and that there is no need for overeating.
- Get to know your triggers and control your need for overeating
Once you find out which emotional triggers are in your food need, then you can also create a strategy that will help you to deal with that need. For example, if you know that you have a need for food when you are alone, go out with your friends or write a diary.
Also, always carry your food with you, in order to prevent hunger, and equip your refrigerator with healthy foods, which will stimulate you to eat just like that, and take less fast food. Be active and busy, and disciplined even with time to relax.
When it comes to emotional overeating, you should definitely look for help in the event that it has enormous consequences for your health, both mentally and physically, and then it’s better to seek advice from a professional, nutritionist or physician because they will best know where your problem is rooted and whether there is some physical factor, in addition to the emotional, which is able to provoke a food problem, because then you then need a more serious treatment.
If you want to lose weight, then it is definitely necessary to take control of overeating and to switch to a diet that will suit you, or a diet that will help you in weight loss, but also in general health, and advice on everything you can find here on my site.
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